As Australia’s ageing population opts to stay living in their own homes for longer, there has been an increase in the need for stylish, independent living aids for residential bathrooms.
While functionality is of course key, designers and manufacturers are realising the importance of making sure aesthetics are not sacrificed in the process.
For Filippo Parisi, who is the managing director of luxury bathroom design and supply company PARISI, creating beautiful products for accessible bathrooms is a passion. Since PARISI’s inception, Filippo’s personal connection to caring for ageing relatives led him to create specialised products which not only look beautiful but also provide the extra support needed when caring for people who want to remain living independently.
“Beautifully designed collections marry with purposeful accessible products created for the Australian market. With Italian style at the forefront, clients can have Italian sanitaryware created by award winning Italian designers and our PARISI Design Team,” he says.
At PARISI, they have noticed more and more clients choosing higher toilets to assist with mobility as well as clients looking to gradually update their bathrooms with grab rails and other support items in styles and colours to match their tastes.
PARISI’s accessible products are available in on trend colours, like ‘fucile’ which is a gun metal grey PVD finish on stainless steel.
“Our stainless steel ranges blend harmoniously with PARISI brushed nickel tapware and showers,” PARISI’s Chief Operating Officer Franco Parisi says
“The colour palette can be seamlessly carried throughout from tapware to grab rails and showers as well as the comfort provided with luxury Pressalit seats for our Ellisse Ambulant toilets,” he says.
PARISI also supplies colour matched door hardware, hinges, handles and accessories as well as large format porcelain tiles by Fondovalle. The Fondovalle MyTop tiles make for easy cleaning, and they come in a vast array of colours and designs, which can be personalised.
Con-Serv is another bathroom manufacturer and supplier ensuring ageing homeowners no longer need to compromise on style.
“As Australia’s ageing population is staying home longer, we have noticed an increase in the need for independent living aids that will complement a homeowners décor. When it comes to home safety, customers want uncompromised quality that blends seamlessly into their home,” Con-Serv’s Marketing and Communications Manager Crissie O’Dea says.
Over the past 12 months, Con-Serv has seen matte black grow in popularity in the residential bathroom market.
“This comes as no surprise to us. Matte black bathroom fittings not only look sleek and smart, but they complement a variety of colours and styles in the home. Whether a bathroom is traditional white, has neutral earth tones or plays with a modern colour palette, matte black fittings will add a level of sophistication and wow factor to any room,” O’Dea says.
She also commented that matte black fittings are surprisingly easy to look after, only needing the occasional wipe with a micro cloth and warm, soapy water to keep the fittings looking at their best. They are also superb at hiding water stains and dust marks.
Con-Serv introduced a range of matte black grab rails for accessible bathrooms which was so successful that they expanded the range to include matte black grab rails for showers, shower seats, toilet assist backrests and a WELS 4-Star shower range.
“All Con-Serv grab rails, grab rail showers and fold away shower seats offer users commercial quality and functionality, in a stylish finish that will complement the home,” O’Dea says.
Con-Serv matte black grab rails are available in a variety of length and styles. Straight grab rails range in size from 200mm to 1200mm and can be installed vertically or horizontally to meet the users needs. Utilising Con-Serv’s unique Hygienic Seal fitting system, Con-Serv grab rails offer superior antimicrobial protection and support loads in excess of 112kg.
O’Dea says Con-Serv has worked extensively with Occupational Therapists to develop their range, so users won’t have to make compromises when selecting the right support aids for their home.
“All Con-Serv grab rails are made from stainless steel with quality brass fittings and come with a lifetime warranty. Con-Serv also offers a range of bathroom accessories and domestic showers to complement their healthcare range so customers can mix and match the range to meet their individual needs,” she says.
Senior Brand Manager at Caroma LiveWell, Michael Collins agrees that there is a growing desire for improved aesthetics when it comes to accessibility solutions for residential bathrooms.
“While functional attributes will always be first and foremost, aesthetics provide the biggest opportunity for improvement,” he says.
“Improved aesthetics can play a large role in reducing mental health challenges by providing a more homely and welcoming environment”.
Caroma Care Solutions’ Opal collection uses contemporary styles with discreet modifications which blend seamlessly into the bathroom to promote comfort and independence.
Discreet design features such as raised height toilet pans and integrated shelf space on basins are just some of the simple additions offered to reduce challenges for the elderly and make the bathroom a more comfortable and practical space. Featuring smooth, rounded contours and clean lines, the Opal Collection will fit effortlessly into any bathroom, while ensuring easy cleaning, for maximum hygiene.
The streamlined rimless design of the modern Opal Cleanflush toilet makes cleaning of the toilet very easy. The toilet also has a longer projection on the pan allowing more space for carers to assist if needed and commode chair use. The easy height pan also makes it easier on the knees reducing the wear and tear over time.
Caroma also offers an Opal Colour range which allows people to coordinate care specific fixtures with modern interior design finishes. The tapware, grab rails, showers and accessories are all available in stylish chrome, brushed nickel and matte black.
“They’re all-round stunning designs with attention to detail on how people use our products,” Collins says.
Senior Marketing Officer at Galvin Engineering, Corina Dreosso says some key design elements of bathrooms that allow people to live longer at home include an increase in natural light and the accentuation of colours to assist with wayfinding and modernise décor.
“Colour coding of toilet seats assists with visual contrasting for better orientation for the visually impaired. Coloured contrasts facilitate orientation and enable intuitive use. If only the functional elements are coloured, they are highlighted and their function is clearly illustrated,” she says.
“If the functional elements are also in a colour contrasting with the surroundings, they also become easy to perceive for people with impaired vision”.
To support elderly clients in their homes Galvin Engineering offers stylish, high quality European design folding support arms and shower chairs. These aids provide elderly users with knee and hip impairment greater accessibility to address and dismount the WC fixture. They can also integrate nurse call style assisted living aids.
Galvin Engineering also offers anti-scald products like CliniLever Single Lever Mixer or CliniMix Lead Safe Thermostatic Progressive Mixer. CliniLever Shower Set for independent showering or GalvinAssist Hand Shower Kit with innovative ClevaCare shower arm for assisted showering.
They have an extensive range of grab rails (including stainless steel, colour and fold down options. Meanwhile, products like the HEWI Dementia Wall Hung Wash Basin are specifically designed for people living with Dementia.
“We have Australia’s largest range of anti-ligature tapware, Wallgate sanitaryware, grab rails, drainage, fixtures, fittings and water management systems for NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation Robust Housing,” Dreosso says.
To ensure design is not compromised, Galvin Engineering has partnered with a renowned Italian manufacturer to keep offering state-of-the-art design combining classic lines with modern appeal while still offering safety features such as adequate robustness and oversized indicators to meet seniors’ demands.
Stormtech said when designing bathrooms for residents who plan to age in place, accessibility and ease-of-mobility are crucial. Traditional drainage solutions in the bathroom can present one of the biggest barriers to universal access. This is because step-downs, uneven floor surfaces, and high gradient falls are among the most dangerous and pervasive hazards for vulnerable residents.
Stormtech’s drainage solutions, on the other hand, are specially designed to eliminate the access and mobility constraints of traditional centralised drainage systems whilst making a stunning architectural statement. Their linear drainage is a cutting-edge drainage solution that delivers level-plane (i.e. flush with the ground surface), ‘zero step down’ drainage. Unlike conventional drainage solutions, lineal designs conform to the strict accessibility requirements of the AS1428, whilst maintaining excellent drainage flow.
Design and Development Manager at Autoflo Karl Baxter believes the secret to designing beautiful and functional bathrooms for ageing residents is to pair with a sense of style which aligns with the tastes of the clientele and does not introduce the sense or feeling of sterility; retaining the feel and look of home.
According to Baxter, Autoflo’s touch free sensor taps are ideal for elderly thanks to their ease and longevity of use. They are also very hygienic with the water flow activated by the presence of hands in the hand washing area. The tap is also ideal for those with dexterity and mobility limitations who may have trouble reaching and manually operating taps.
Baxter says when given custom finishes, these sensor taps “exude style and sophistication”.
“They’re extremely simple to install and take up minimal space taken up beneath basins – which well suits aged clientele who may have minimal space available from downsizing,” he says.
The taps feature automatic flushing 72 hours after last usage.
“This is useful for situations where residents may be away from home for a period of time, ensuring there is no water sitting stagnant in tapware”.
“Additionally, when units are battery powered, should the power be starting to run low, within the sensor window a red led will flash alerting the user that it is time to change the battery – 6V lithium batteries are used which can last up to four years vs around six months for competing products using AA or AAA batteries”.
“The pairing of practicality with style means beautiful bathroom interiors, without compromising on functionality for all”.
Ultimately, those designing, and manufacturing bathroom products have realised that there is now a big demand for stylish designs that accommodate the needs of ageing clients. Well-thought through bathroom design contributes to the wellbeing of ageing Australians while supporting and encouraging their independence.